Monday, July 06, 2009

The Crows

The C.S.S. Azizur Rahman’s 1st officer Abdullah Yusef Ali, looking sharp in his new forest green uniform and wrap around data glasses, informed the captain that the engine room had stated that worm hole drive was ready and charged. The men on the bridge all looked anxiously to the captain awaiting his orders. They all knew that the Astronomy fellows at explorer command gave them a 90% probability of discovering a life supporting planet in the star system they were about to slide into.

"Let us go see what no other man’s eyes have ever gazed upon, " said Captain Khaled Hosseni, a large man with golden brown skin and dark piercing eyes which had the ability to look right through a man to his core, "engage the worm drive."

Within minuets the C.S.S. Azizur Rahman had slid into the outer fringes of the new star system. With the speed and efficiency of the well trained crew that they were, the men and women of the C.S.S. Azizur Rahman quickly down to the business of exploring a new and uncharted Star system. A shabash probe was launched to get a look at the area of space on the other side of the sun.

The Sensors Officer one of the older men on board, began conducting a detailed spectral scan of the nearest frozen world in hopes of finding valuable resources. Meanwhile three Jao class probes were launched towards the 4th planet from the sun , which they suspected of being able to sustain life.

It was the communication chief who made the discovery that the star system was already inhabited as he realized that what at first had seemed to be a lot of background radio noise was in fact encrypted radio messages being broadcasted through out the star system. He immediately notified the captain and the diplomatic officer. Afterwards the communications chief Taufik Zahid, a very efficient man from New Malaysia, started running the encrypted messages through the standard decryption programs as well as a few that he had designed himself. His wide brown face broke into a grin as he leaned back into the molded plastic chair, this mission was just starting and already it was very interesting.

Captain Khaled Hosseini did not simply have a cloud of gloom over his head, he had a full blown hurricane of gloom over him. He had left on an exploration mission, being told that there was a 90% probability that there was a planet in the star system that could sustain human life. Meaning he was going to be naming the world , its’ continents and seas something he had looked forward to; to being informed by his 1st officer that the 4th planet had to much background radiation, to much volcanic activity and not enough oxygen. Through 1st officer’s team assured him in 10 or 20 million years the planet would be ready for terraforming.

On top of this he is informed that the star system is actually inhabited already by humans. Which according to chief Zahid who had decoded the messages and the diplomatic officer seemed to be divided up into approximately 7 different factions that were all at war with one another. He told them that by Asr to have a full briefing prepared for the senior officers.

Sohaib Sultan felt as if he had been training to be a diplomat his whole life. He had gone to a French immersion elementary school and had taken English in high school. While getting his bachelors, a double degree in anthropology and sociology, he had taken several semesters of mandarin. A year of study on Camelot and his PhD in International affairs before he joined the confederate navy got him his diplomatic officers’ commission. And yet from reading the decoded transmissions, he felt that the best diplomatic tool the captain was going to have at his disposal would be the seven missile tubes and the 400 Jezzail missiles.

Queen Jenny Nimmo of the red crows listened to her right hand Sir Eoin Colfrey as he explained about the aliens or as he corrected not aliens but other humans, humans from another star system. He urged her to open negations with them right away and before there dreaded enemy the white crow or even one of the other factions did. By creating an alliance with this new element he told her, who knew what new weapons or defense systems they might get a hold of to use against the other factions.

Baron Paul Stewart, the left hand of the queen, told her that if they were to gain such weapon marvels the outsiders were sure to have, that they could bring about the fabled United Kingdom. Queen Nimmo knew the stories of the Mythological United Kingdom, she had heard them her whole life. The colony ark had brought them to this star system only to discover that the world they had thought of settling was poisonous. The people were a united kingdom; Queen Nimmo had some of the antiques from the supplies the original settlers had brought with them that bore this motto, but there had been dissenters among them.

The original colonist had voted to leave this star system to look for a new world but the dissenters sabotaged the ship and they were all stranded. From that the United Kingdom dissolved and the different groups arose. The white crows, the black crows, the sun crows, the war crows, the night crows and her own glorious group the red crows. She dreamed of the day she would united all of the crows and lead them out of that which the first red crow queen had described as their own little purgatory.

Queen Jenny looking down from her thrown informed Sir Eoin the right hand of the queen that she would meet with the ambassador of these confederates.

The C.S.S. Azizur Rahman’s diplomatic officer Sohaib Sultan smiled nervously as his dark brown eyes darted about the room as he addressed the captain.
“They have agreed to speak to us sir.” Said Sohaib quickly.

“Now, I have been told that there are several factions, so by they; you mean who?” asked the captain quietly hoping that Sohaib would calm down.
Standing next to each other it was obvious that the golden brown skinned captain Hosseine was about ten centimeters taller than the olive complexioned commander Sohaib.

“The queen of the Red Crows, Queen Jenny Nimmo. They contacted us not long after we slid into the star system. Our intelligence tells us that they are an English speaking multi-ethnic colony originally sent out by the United Kingdom or Great Britain as it is also referred to back on earth. I am suggesting that all the members of the contact team be armed sir. For what we have been able to assertion these crows form alliances and break them regularly. Being able to deceive your enemy is a virtue among them. Even the way they all call each other crow has a rather unpleasant foreboding.”

“How do you mean?”

“What do you call a group of crows in English sir?”

Captain Hosseini raised an eyebrow questioningly a puzzled look on his face.

The Contact team and their security detail sat in the C.S.S. Rahman’s ship boat the Jao going over code words. Both the Contact team and the security detail wore Jawan body Armor; the contact team had 12mm pistols in shoulder holsters while the security detail carried these as well as standard issue G.A.R.s and their own personal edged weapons.

The Jao’s pilot hailed the red crow asteroid colony, noting that the colony’s defense guns had both a radar and Lidar lock on them. They were given clearance to dock and the pilot did so as quickly as he could without making anyone to nervous.

The pilot and two men of the security stayed with the ship boat, the five other members of the security detail and the contact team were ushered through a maze of corridors and passageways, at one point they went through a huge crowded market place with multiple levels and a ceiling that appeared to be at least 50 meters up. They all took note that everyone they passed, who appeared to be over the age of seven, was armed.

Sohaib looked about the Queen of the Red Crows thrown room and found himself fascinated by the laser engraved metal walls. All of the metal engravings were of various space battles of which Sohaib did not doubt the red crow had won. Above the Queen’s thrown in thirty centimeter tall gold letters was the motto ‘Buaidh No Bas’; Sohaib would find out later that this was Gaelic for victory or death. The queen sat on a high back ornately carved wooden thrown, wearing a gold and red dress which seemed to shimmer. Standing next to her on her right side Sohaib recognized, from video talks held earlier, Eoin Colfer all decked out in red and black. Another man whom Sohaib did not recognize stood to her left wearing black body armor. Red Crow security men stood along the walls watching them warily.

Gifts were presented to the Queen, a Persian rug, a hologram of the planet New Malaysia and an ornate knife which she seemed most impressed with. Queen Jenny quickly agreed to allow the confederates to establish an embassy and a trading post in the New London star system. As negotiations continued it became apparent to Sohaib that what the Red Crows wanted was weapons. Unfortunately for them the Confederation was very unlikely to allow them to buy weapons considering the status of the New London star system and even if they were to be willing to, the Red Crow did not seem to have anything they could trade for them. The meeting ended with all smiles and the Queen giving them a gold coin with her likeness one side and the Red Crow emblem on the other as well as a hand crafted dagger, but as soon as the contact team was gone the grumbling began.

Upon arriving back to their ship Sohaib was informed by the 1st officer that there was a message waiting for him from one of the other factions. Sohaib opened up the designated channel using the encryption code sent with the message and found himself talking directly with the Queen of the White crows, Eleanor Mcevoy.

“I have been informed that you have opened negotiations with the red crow murder. We the White crow would also like to entertain you and begin the process of becoming your friend.” She said with a seductive smile. Something that Sohaib felt looked good on the Attractive green eyed blond woman whose face was literally framed by a gold crown which had gold rope chains hanging off of it.

He explained to her with so many competing factions that in the New London star system that most likely an embassy and trading post would be established not in one of the current space colonies; but on an uninhabited asteroid. This way the confederation hoped that it could convey that it did not wish to take sides in the internal squabbles between the different Crow murders.

Sohaib did not know that the White Crow had a reputation for patience and long term planning, as Queen Mcevoy asked about trading agreements and possibly sending students to study in the confederation. He did realize quickly while talking to her that behind that dazzling smile and bright green eyes was a cunning mind and a woman who was not to be trifled with.

Once Commander Sohaib had finished what at times seemed to be an interrogation with the White Queen, he went back to his quarters to write up his proposals shaking his head. For it seemed to him that the Crows were the worst combination of violent barbarians and high tech society.

Red Crow war master Frances Kent stood in front of the throne, Queen Jenny gazing down on her as War Master Frances thumped her chest and stated that she had thirty fighters and two cruisers ready to engage the alien ship. War Master Kent looked very impressive in her red and black battle armor, two 10mm auto-pistols strapped to her in shoulder holsters, knives in wrist sheaves and a claymore sword signifying her station strapped to her back. A cruel grin danced across her face as she talked of battle.

The Queen’s left hand Paul Stewart stepped out of the shadows, which his black body armor blended into, a 10mm pistol with a silencer on one hip and the garrote signifying his office on the other and spoke. “We have intercepted messages between the White Crows and the C.S.S. Azizur Rahman. If the White Crows gain the allegiance of the confederation they will become the dominant power in this star system. We cannot allow this,” he said with a hiss.

“Your majesty the fighters and cruisers that we spoke of are already in position to attack. If you wish I can send more ships, but our defenses if one of our outer settlements was attacked,” said War Master Kent.

Eoin Colfer the Queen’s right hand stood up in his red and black combat armor, two 12mm pistols in shoulder holsters, a large gold chain with the medallion which symbolized his office hanging around his neck and spoke in a steady and quite voice,” we still do not have a good idea of what type of offensive weapons and defenses that their ship has, we should wait until we have more intelligence. I can even go to the Sun Crow and gain us allies in this attack. They would be able to give us another twenty fighters easily.”

“And if they join us in this attack any spoils would have to be shared with them, something I do not wish to do”, said Queen Jenny rising from her thrown. “ No, two cruisers and thirty fighters should be plenty, but to reassure you Eion, I shall dispatch 6 more fighters from our guard here.”

And with that remark they all understood that the decision to attack was made and the discussion was over. The die was tossed.

It was after Fajr and the senior staff was eating in the officer’s dining room. They had all finished their initial reports and the captain had called for this meeting before they departed the New London Star System.

Commander Sohaib Reported that Eleanor Mcevoy Queen of the White Crows had agreed to donate an Asteroid to the Confederation to build an embassy and trading post on; as he finished up a voice broke over the P.A. system informing the captain that the ship had detected a large number of inbound ships. Captain Hosseini ordered the Ship to battle stations.

The atmosphere on the bridge of the C.S.S. Azizur Rahman was tense. As Lt. Ibrahim Dabdoub called out to the captain “ tracking multiple targets, more than three dozen fighters and two large ships look like light cruisers, unknown weaponry.”

“Load all Missile tubes, power up the magnetic pulse cannons and activate the missile defense guns. Fire when enemy ships are in range,” said captain Hosseini in a loud clear voice.

Missile tube commanders sat and watched as the red crow fighters came into range and almost in unison they uttered the basmallah as they pressed the firing studs next to their scanner screens. Seven Jezzail missiles locked on and went zipping towards their targets followed by another and another. Several red crow fighters managed to get into range and fire their missiles only to see them deflected by the C.S.S, Azizur Rahman’s magnetic pulse cannons. Two red crow fighters closed on the C.S.S, Azizur Rahman and tried to engage it with their guns only to be knocked out by the magnetic pulse cannons.

War Master Kent stood on the command deck of the red crow warship The Morgoth and it and the Warship the Glaurung to accelerate into firing range and fire everything they had at the alien ship, specifically targeting its missile launchers and maneuvering thrusters. All three ships started firing at each other at approximately the same time, the confederate ship getting its missiles away perhaps a second earlier.

The battling ships continued to close the distance between them while steadily firing at each other. Captain Hosseini first had his gunners firing all at the Glaurung which allowed them to successfully overwhelm her defenses. A red crow missile got through and struck the C.S.S, Azizur Rahman shaking her but to the red crows dismay did not take her out, for unbeknownst to the red crow was that while the confederate ship was not a warship as an exploration vessel it was constructed to go out alone and handle itself. This included two armored hulls each 25 centimeters thick separated by a self sealing gel.

With the Glaurung destroyed war master Kent called for a hasty retreat. Captain Hosseini decided it was probably for the best not to pursue and to continue preparations to leave the star system as planned. He did intend to change part of his report and double or perhaps even triple, he mused his recommendation on the amount of military production the embassy and trading port would need.

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